MSNBC Guest: Benghazi Is a ‘Fake, Phony Scandal’

With the wheels coming off of ObamaCare, liberals are desperately searching for a way to go back on the attack against Republicans. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Zerlina Maxwell of TheGrio.com trotted out a months-old strategy: attack Republicans for pushing the supposedly “phony” Benghazi scandal.

Asked for her opinion on the Republicans’ investigation of the Benghazi attack, Maxwell spit out the liberal narrative that we heard a lot of earlier this year:


"Well, I think that Benghazi is a tragedy but it's a fake, phony scandal. And so I think that they're probably just going to stroke -- really just divisiveness and try to continue this witch hunt which is really what it's been."
 

She ended her spiel by hurling an accusation at Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has been spearheading the recent round of investigations:
 

"And so Lindsey Graham is really just using Benghazi as an excuse to block appointments, Senate appointments."
 

That ought to get MSNBC viewers’ minds off of the ObamaCare train wreck, no? Fortunately, Republican strategist Susan Del Percio was there to dispute Maxwell’s classification of Benghazi. Del Percio responded, “Yeah, but if it's a fake, phony witch hunt why is the U.S. government, why is the State Department offering a $10 million reward for those who can provide information about the people who started this?”

Maxwell then attempted to clarify her position: “It was a tragedy. But the scandal -- the fact that it might have been a cover-up is phony.”

No doubt Maxwell would love to protect President Obama from another potential dagger to his presidency. But the Benghazi investigation is ongoing, and it’s important that we learn all the facts. It’s also important that we know why administration officials scrubbed the original talking points of any references to terrorism or al-Qaeda, instead blaming the attacks on a YouTube video.

Maxwell is not the first member of the Grio to try to dismiss Benghazi as a phony scandal. Back in May, the Grio’s managing editor, Joy-Ann Reid, attempted to sweep the scandal under the rug during a conversation with Alex Witt.

Below is a transcript of the segment:


MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: Now let's turn to Benghazi, let’s quickly change topics. You know, we haven't heard much from Republicans after CBS News yanked its Benghazi report last week. Susan, what do you make of that given that Republicans touted this report so strongly coming out and then afterwards, we haven't heard much about it at all.

SUSAN DEL PERCIIO: Well, what the Republicans, specifically Lindsey Graham's been on is that they want to speak to the American survivors of the Benghazi attack. Yes, there was a lot of problems with CBS. But that's not at – what the core of the issue is right now for the Republicans.  Even this week, the director of the FBI said he saw no problem with letting the members of Congress speak to these survivors. And I think that's a very valid point and that they should continue down that track. This is an ongoing investigation. And they should be allowed to speak to these folks.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: And Zerlina, where do you think the Republicans' investigation of Benghazi goes from here?

ZERLINA MAXWELL: Well, I think that Benghazi is a tragedy but it's a fake, phony scandal. And so I think that they're probably just going to stroke -- really just divisiveness and try to continue this witch hunt which is really what it's been because, to Susan's point about the information that they want from the families, the families themselves have said, we've been cooperating all along. And so Lindsey Graham is really just using Benghazi as an excuse to block appointments, Senate appointments.
 



DEL PERCIO: Yeah, but if it's a fake, phony witch hunt why is the U.S. government, why is the State Department offering a $10 million reward for those who can provide information about the people who started this? It's not phony. It's a very real thing. This –

MAXWELL: No, it was a tragedy. It was a tragedy. But the scandal -- the fact that it might have been a cover-up is phony.

[crosstalk]

DEL PERCIO: There was an action that was taken -- a terrorist action against Americans. There's no doubting that. The State Department –

MAXWELL: I’m agreeing – I agree with you.

DEL PERCIO: – so it’s not a make-believe scandal.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.